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Deanne Stillman Education. (2012) 'Desert Reckoning A Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt In Modern California History.'

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Donald Kueck 12, Sorenson 8, Los Angeles 6, Us 5, Kueck 4, Riverside 3, Paul 3, Donald 3, California 2, Montana 2, Stephen Sorenson 2, Carmelo 2, Don 2, Teresa 2, Joshua 2, Palmdale 2, Meredith 1, Miami 1, L.a. 1, Washington 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Deanne Stillman  Education.  (2012) 'Desert Reckoning A  
   Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt In...  

    October 22, 2012
    6:45 - 8:00am EDT  

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>> after sorenson to pull him over on a remote desert road next to announce off a feel for reckless driving on a hot summer
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day. in 1994 at about noon. i live alone in a rural location, kueck wrote in a statement. and now i fear for my safety. now again, you'll have to read this chapter to find out exactly what happens after sorenson continues to approach donald kueck's trailer. i will say this. as he turned down the driver, deputy sorenson, we don't know whether or not he looked over to his right and saw this grave that kueck had been taking come and if he did see at what he thought about it, if anything your 80s stop? you know, ponder, keep going? nobody knows. it's one of the more mysterious elements of the story. as i said, this is determined by someone who did dig the grave and to the town with them.
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so the neighborhood called deputy sorenson complaining about his squad heard the shots and called police, and that's what kicked off this manhunt, the sirens and the launch of the sirens that mark and i but hearing that afternoon. i want to kill you a little bit more about donald kueck, the hermit. we usually don't think of a hermit as having a family. that's why it's pretty much they become hermit, they don't want anything to do with anybody and they sever all times. that's what he did one day during the 1970s but he had been married and had two kids, and he came, walked into the breakfast, to the breakfast table one morning and told his wife he didn't love her anymore and got up and left and began gravitating towards the desert, which in my view have been longing for for a long time. a lot of people, that's the only place that they can flourish, like joshua -- other plants and
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animals can live in one place. one that was not cut out for civilization. deputy stephen sorenson interesting enough was an x. server from the south bay in los angeles, and he, too, begin gravitating towards the desert at some point and had volunteered for the position of resident deputy and a very remote outpost. tops know that they have a dangerous line of work, and that anything that happens when they get up because she office that day. but very few of them will volunteer for a room a beat like this because if you get called to a domestic violence incident, say, if you take an hour for back up to right. this is a violent and dangerous beak and it takes a certain kind of person to want to take it on your and the fact i at one point asked, i sat down with the sheriff, the chief sheriff of
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los angeles county shows department at one point, and this is like i think the six most powerful law enforcement agency in the world. it's huge. and i said why would somebody, why did deputy sorenson volunteer for the beat? he said, whatever it was, it was his mission to protect god's creation. i thought that really told me a lot about deputy sorenson. and as you read my book you will see that that's not just a line that he threw out, and deputy sorenson was interestingly enough, he and kueck were two sides of the same coin. he rescued wild animals himself. when he would get called to meth labs who would take in these abused peoples. and i, finally getting to go -- on the ages us working on my book, it turned out that all the animals he rescued were still out the house, which is an amazing thing. their spirit was there on this land, and he was very powerful.
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and kueck come his best friend for animals and he talked to ravens and bobcats, and as i said jack rabbits. these two men, a hermit and a sheriff, one went bad and one when good, as much in common. back to the family man reference i made, he had two kids, and he became, he longed for them. this is part of a longing that i explore in my book. kind of a theme that runs through a lot of my work. he tried to reconnect with his kids at some point, like a few years before this violent incident, and they ended up having a reunion in riverside, california, which i talked about in my book. his son was a teenager, and
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pretty well-known, kind of a notorious figure on the scene of riverside and was in a lot of bands and longtime junkie. when he and the father reconnected, at bob's big boy, they decided that would be a good thing for father and son to kind of continue this, to see where the spark went, and he moved out to the desert for a while to live with his father, donald kueck. and he set up shop. one of the things that donald did on his compound was he acquired all this -- with barter and trade with neighbors for things that they need or he needed, fix up old cars and vans. he had this old man on his property that he and his son labeled the anarchy than. he would go in there and get high. listen to music and sometimes
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donald would go in and hang out with them. friends would come out and they would make music. they were boys together running around in the desert. kueck was a brilliant self-taught rocket scientist to use to hobnob with the engineers at edwards air force base. so he and his son would run around sometimes in the desert setting off rockets, blowing stuff up, being boys together. but his father something just, it didn't work out, wasn't cut out to be a parent. which is why he moved to the desert in the first place. the relationship degenerated in the sun ended up fleeing to seattle. he outlines kurt cobain, and as i said, was a longtime junkie and ended up overdosing in a warehouse in downtown los angeles, some months prior to the shoot out at kueck's trailer, the shoot out with the deputies.
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after the son died, his friends predicted it was only a matter of time before kueck, the hermit, went on the rail. i want you to get a little bit about the manhunt, some of the people involved in this. the los angeles county swat department had never, they trained, they're very well trained in urban warfare, but this stumped them. they've never really spent days attacking anybody in the desert even though it was in the county. they realized roundabout like the two or three that it needed a place to land their chopper, and they couldn't. there was a lot of brush in the desert, no place that had -- a lot now pressing sides. it's not like you could -- heavily armed people do not want a police chopper landed in your front yard. so here's what they ended up.
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with every hour that a criminal is on the loose, the chances of finding them diminish exponentially. by the morning of day two, 1000 cops intent is enjoyed the manhunt. some covers the desert walking every cubic centimeter of its lonely stretch. every county was sparing no expense on the search, which had morphed into exactly the kind of orwellian monster that cook feared. anan overwhelming display of manpower vehicles, food can search lights and traffic, aircraft, not at civilians, dogs, weapons, ammo fuel. surveillance equipment and tracking gear. at the retreat center in palmdale he was taking a sunrise walk and joshua just after morning mass, she gazed eastward toward the three sisters view, a mountain range in which three rounded peaks with the most prominent. the views are well known landmark to those who appreciate
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his rugged part of l.a. county. a marker of comfort and beauty that brings the endless desert expanse to a rolling stop. beckoning the pilgrims to slow down evermore and take stock. was the formation first thing by three sisters, or was it called when the ancestors of the indians roamed traveling up and down its trails as they headed westward into the mojave and then crossing another mountain range? no one knows the answer to these questions but the members of the order at mount carmelo sometimes joke that sitting near the three sisters viewed, it was to invoke their calling. mount carmelo serve the area's poor, offering daily mass and comfort and providing a day care center for children as parents worked the valleys orchards and fields. knowing that there's been a deadly incident nearby and the fugitive suspected in the
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killing might be lurking. sister mary was wary as she strolled on the second day of the manhunt. yet as she listened to the cactus friends and the exchange commission struck us was by the land and sky and light, and reduced one more time to the state of shared humility and awe. she offered up a silent prayer of tattooed for a blessed life. as she reflected a figure approached closing in from across the sands. something about the gate told her the person was a man. it wasn't unusual to see someone walking the desert but it wasn't all that come in either. she grew more suspicious and wondered whether the dancing figure might be the wanted man. he was big and tall, she noticed them and was headed directly toward her. reversing course, she turned back towards the continent while keeping an eye on the stranger. she now saw that he was wearing a dark suit.
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how strange, she thought. that's not what the radio cibecue supposedly wearing a t-shirt and maybe some genes. does he want to hide in a convent? what about the children? she picked up her pace but it was too late. sergeant phil goodman, said the man. los angeles county homicide. decades later the order dedicated itself to saint teresa, the 15th century mystic who is torn between material and spiritual world. and battled with demons as she fled inward. during her journey she underwent a series of miracles that
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happened after -- in which she levitated and communicated with angels. the conference was a daily situated on 180th street east, and main drag in palmdale, where cell phone reception was good and was pointed wide open open space around it, save for the intimate creosote and rocks. not bad for take off and launching pad for helicopters. so that's where the los angeles the los angeles county swat team staged this manhunt, for a convent in the middle of the desert. i was quite struck by the fact that he was these two orders, nothing cops, people that we really, we civilians don't call unless there's an emergency. years they were coming together as an extreme situation. while the cops were there, the nuns were cooking for them and praying for them, and some of the cops who were catholic were taking mess with the nuns.
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and then as i said by the end of the week, i don't know if i said this, that is what was happening but by the end of the week the cops are giving the nuns rides in the chopper, which i think -- [laughter] >> i know. isn't it amazing? it contradict me, here they are, members of the carmelite order, which was started in honor of saint teresa. it occurred to me they're probably having a moment of ecstasy up there in this chopper over the mojave. [laughter] >> so meanwhile, the manhunt is growing, growing, and more and more like vehicles are coming out into the desert, and the sheriffs department by now, by day four or five has decided to muster this thing called the bear, which was used in the gulf war, was developed for use in the gulf war, you know, and
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later used in the hunt for bin laden i believe. and this manhunt was unfolding at the same time as the hunt for bin laden so actually, i talk about this model, these two parallel manhunts. one in the home and in our desert and one in a foreign desert, have for bin laden using some of the same gear and surveillance equipment and infrared technology and so on, and making the same call, dead or alive, bin laden and the sheriff had called for the capture of donald kueck, dead or alive. but he was, because he knew the desert so well and had allied with animals many years of his life he was able, he was doing what they did, out there in the wide open space. is probably hiding in burrows and case at one point he did have a cell phone and was calling a daughter, the daughter mentioned earlier who live in a nearby city of riverside and is calling her while he was on the run. he said he was hiding under --
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at dawn when the ground temperature is the same as body temperature, if you hide in the sand you can elude infrared technology because it can't detect body heat. he was hiding in the sand and calling his daughter and saying i won't be coming over again. the choppers are above me. so at that point, his son had been tapped and cops sort of knew what general area he was in. i recount various details of the manhunt in my book. by the end of the week, by the seventh they had been told by an informant he was heading to this complex to make his last stand. and it was literally a week after this incident at the trailer, and the bear had been sent in and he knew he was inside, he was inside this complex of sheds that was about
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to go up in flames and he was ordered to come out. it was a full moon, like tonight, choppers hovering over. news fans flocking to the site. it was really quite surreal and they started firing tear gas into this complex of sheds, hoping to flush donald kueck out. and while this final siege was going on, the detective was very helpful to me in writing my book. i couldn't have done it without him, really. he was on the phone, on the telephone with donald kueck, who was calling his daughter from the sheds, this detective is trying to convince donald kueck to come in and surrender. so he let me listen to these hours and hours of tapes with his cell phone cutting out and he would have to keep calling back. and was very dramatic.
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his daughter is in the background saying dad, dad, you've got to coming. and kueck was trying to work at some kind of surrender deal with the detective. and i want to read you a little bit of this final conversation, because it's really kind of like a play, shadow play within the play. here is the daughter, again, it's hot, like 110 degrees, small apartment, kids running around. and he's on the phone as they are firing, trying to flush them out to mark, how are you. i'm a detective with the los angeles department. my cell phone battery is on its last leg. talk to me as long as you can. dawn, no, sir, please can you turn the walkie-talkie on. it has many channels. mark, talk underrated, you push the red button on the site. is there something we can do for
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you? i don't want to be rude but you can't because once i get in there, though station doctors are worse. what he meant was he didn't want to go, he didn't want to go back to jail. it done time previously and he just had vowed he was never going back. we got all kinds of doctors in the. why do we let you see some non-asian doctors? i can't use a wool blanket. i need cotton. >> are you allergic? >> i can eat beans, tomatoes. the sheriff is telling me agrees to all that. detective is on two phones, talking to headquarters and he's got donald kueck on the other phone. he was sitting like that for six or seven hours in the heat. his arms got very tired, among other things. is to put me in solitary, not with workers but i'm really we. i take ritalin. some of those cops are going to shoot me on sight. mark, now they won't.
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by now donnell is going to go do my mother to my father was an air force but i got to go pick your breaking a. mark, i can have the sheriff call back in 10 minutes. keep the phone for five minutes. do you still have the deputy's gun? the bread and ethic and? we don't want a little kid to find it. i don't either, balances. i'm going to get my glasses i can see. i'm in the desert. mark, talk around lsat one. stay within. he was there someone talk. mark, you've got to quit moving channels run. we'll find the one you're on. it says seven emergency. don, i've got to take a leak. it might be a minute before i answer the radio again. mark, that's typical of our equipment. would like to resolve this thing before it gets dark out. it's 3:20 but you sound like you're smarter than i am when it comes to police radios. don, i don't want to get arrested or killed before
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sundown. march, nobody wants to get a. there's probably 1 million cops out the. why not come out now? it's light out. the conversation goes on with his cell phone cutting in and out, and finally police moved in because the sunsets and kueck is not coming out but he starts to run you between the sheds. finally, the bear as it moves in caring swat team. this goes on for hours and hours. finally, the whole place erupts and there had been smoldering, as i said earlier and it goes up like this. at midnight, there's no more contact with kueck, and they still didn't know even after a week, even after this siege and after having, been chasing for a week they didn't we know if it got in there man. at midnight more than three hours after the fire began raging, swat was ordered to search the area. now, two teams were sweeping the field.
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they still did know if kueck was alive or escaped yet again. they formed skirmish lines and begin walking through the rubble. once again they felt vulnerable. yet on things can go through your head at any given time. at least half of the men on site were planning to leave her a a f trip in the beta later that day. they put down their deposits months ago. with got to hurry off congresses think if we don't we will miss our plane. but, of course, what they're doing had no timetable and on the walk. strange sights of weight as a contingent walked through the compound. that power had been turned off several hours ago and they're searching in the dark. with powerful and house lights come 80 been a long siege and they were spent. even rick stopped in his tracks, joe knew it was time for the dog to go home. he was replaced with another
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canine that had been standing by. the men continued their weary march. 10 minutes after the search begin, bruce babbitt to femurs jutting through the ashes. the men moved in for a closer look. donald kueck was on his back nearly cremated, clutching his rifle. when he went to move the body it crumbled. a few days later his family scattered his ashes off the three sisters buttes, the formation you look to at dawn. on august 11 at 806 pm the dispatch announced the traditional end of roll call. the deputy killed in the line of duty, lancaster 110 chart she called, from his patrol car he responded 1144, it was an honor to note and a privilege to work with you, godspeed. than from all over the desert the messages poured in from 110 lincoln and 110 when adam and 110 george and 113. steve, you'll never be
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forgotten, my brother. your family is in good hands here and we know you're in good hands up there. rest in peace, my brother. months after it all went down, the crime scene tape at kueck's trailer still fluttered in the win. there was some old jars of peanut butter and a pair of nikes just waiting for the next tournament with a dream. the land remained a scavengers paradise, engines in french, lawnmowers and tables and chairs. that was a broken down la-z-boy facing the buttes. kueck's chair, the one he sat in when he watched the sunrise over the mojave. from here he could survey is a strange desert kingdom. it, here to escape civilization by the new he could be evicted at any point. the desert was shrinking and civilization didn't like people who violated its codes. in one of his last letters to his sister he wrote, i'm telling
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you this because i get choked up when trying to talk about personal issues. issues. i know the next life is waiting for me. i don't want you to blame yourself as the inevitable comes to pass. this feeling has been growing for the last one to two years. been in a burst of optimism he added, of course the future can be changed and it would be fun trying. since i was 20 i've had the dream of building a little place in the desert. to the right of the la-z-boy was a pallet stacked with lime, construction material for the house that kueck never built. one of these days he was going to make a course correction. as always happens with men such as this, he never got there and never would. instead he picked up a spade and that his own grave at the edge of this property. it's the first thing you see on the way in and the last on the way out, a project he made sure to finish now filled in by wind
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and erosion. months after it gone out in a blaze, his sons friends drove out to the ultra, retrieves a moment and scattered the boy's ashes on top of donald's grave. okay, so that concludes my store, and i just want to end with -- this is a passage of a prayer about longing that i often turn to. what are the flashes of the human mind in the storms of the human heart? they are all prayers, the outpouring of countless longing for god. so thank you, all of you, for coming. [applause] >> any questions, i'm happy to hear them, or comments. kleenex.
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>> my question is just about how you did your reporting. were you able to join the police on that man had? i mean you were there in his house. you called rolling stone, they suggest. how did you manage that quechee didn't even know the police, did you? >> i didn't at the time, and thanks for the question. i couldn't, i mean i was kind of monitoring the manhunt. census in the area i would go to places where people were gathering. there were an impromptu memorials for the sheriff, friends, the hermit were sort of coming forward in their own ways. a lot of the people i write about, then i kidding with a no trespassing signs. you kind of have to wait for them to come to you in one way or another or seek them out in certain places. my books take years but as i
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said, my previous books each took 10. one of the reasons for that is because it takes a really long time for people i write about to open up and want to talk to me, just like it does in actual ways. sort of vague paranoia here from and there's a lot of people. these are people we as a culture would give them short shrift, and they know it. they're pretty suspicious of everybody and everything. and in particular, reporters. it takes a really long time for me to get to know people, and then quite usually with most people, not everybody, once they open up, you know, some of these people are now, i mean they are friends of mine for life, people i wrote about in "twentynine palms" are very close friends. i developed very close friendships with them. not everybody, but anyway, that's a long way of answering her question.
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you're asking about the manhunt specifically in how do they get in. i started, i did start calling the los angeles county sheriff's department, and just introducing myself. i don't think i knew any of the cops in my store at that time, but a couple of them had turned out, they knew about my book "twentynine palms" who are fans of it and felt that my work was fair, and a new the kind of thing i do is speak up for the voiceless, including cops. they feel that, most people in my experience feel that they are misunderstood and that nobody listens to them. they are right. coming, i feel like that sometimes but i'm sure all of you do, and the people again, the people who populate kind of mine, my literary universe have no voice in this culture. and we don't listen to them.
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including, and cops in particular feel that they get, they are not treated well in the media. that's often the case. and they are people, too, you know? excuse me, this is something akin to my book. i made a trip down to the sheriff's museum. i write about that. some of the police characters in my store are critical. i couldn't have written a book without them. they were, as i was making my initial calls come they were not, they were initially very suspicious when i said rolling stone. i mean, there's a perception, they think of us fight unfair and -- they think of us like loud music, sex drugs and rock 'n roll and people the bus. rolling stone has a long history
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of publishing very good reporting and in debt than complicated work and they didn't know about that. as i said, with some within it help if you knew about my work, not everybody, the suspicion of rolling stone was pretty palpable early on. as i started hanging out with some of the cops and getting to know them, you know, you get a feeling for people and they would -- they saw -- i was in it for the long haul. this took two years. they don't call a people and say what happened, thanks, greg. what did you say? at me, i don't do that. so they responded to that. and one detective started talking with me, and letting me listen to the case early on, and a couple of the others, and you know, came on board and a kind of went from there.
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but i still have trouble with a lot of the cops i needed to talk with. i had enough information but i had to go back to a lot of people when i started on my book it after the rolling stone piece came out, the detective called me up and said rolling stone was fair, that's great. many others, it went from there. it meant a lot to them, and i really appreciate that. you know, again, i think we don't understand what a lot of them go through. you know, when they get a domestic violence call out in the middle of the desert. these guys really risking their lives for us, and sell, but it went from there. as i say, when people see that i
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mean when i say i'm working on this story, i'm talking years, and they get that and they start talking with me about all sorts of things. i mean, for instance, you know, information, this story is about swat team seizing of the country. it's not like on day one, oh, by the way, there at a conference. just through daily conversations. so that's not win. that's how that goes for me. even as i was finishing this book there were some people, i hadn't heard from them, as my book was going to press i had to make a stop the press call because some friends of donald kueck son, the musician had died of a heroin overdose, some of them were a little reluctant to talk to me. in the beginning. i can't remember, i forget exactly what happened, but one
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of them, they just started synchronistic recalling me come people ever needed to talk with to complete the part, the father-son story which is critical to the over all story. and they started calling me, as my book was going to press. and it was amazing because it's a very crucial part of this story. my book in a big way is about fathers and sons and broken families and how the land can help people heal this wound, or not. and what that is all about, and what the stake if we don't preserve our desert spaces, you know, where's home for a certain kind of person? it just doesn't fit in a as a. and again, i'm not just talking about outlaws and rebels. i'm talking about some members of law enforcement who, as the
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sheriff had said, feel that that's their duty to go out there and protect god's creati creation. >> anyone else? >> i was, i guess the essence of my question is about how these long novels, which are often about the voiceless, as you put it, but also about kind of these tragic lost souls, so many ways, i'm wondering how years and years of working on this book with all of the detail and correctness that you are aiming for, what kind of, like how you keep yourself hole in some way, or how you don't collapse under the tragedy and the -- that's
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the essence of my question i guess. because i feel so much like when i read your passages, i love your kind of interesting sense of humor that comes through as well. like it's not like leaving something heavy and totally dark. there's so much beauty and those lyric passages about the desert and the animals and like i kind of lived up to get onto those pages. but at the same time i just found myself wondering, like how do you sustain your own sense of hope and positive emotion when you do get so close to people that seem to have kind of suffered in our culture, and set with the land and see how it becomes so much of a graveyard, a junkyard for all those things. and a temple, a temple to everything that's happened. to anything you want to say
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about that spirit that's a really good question, thank you very much, and it's critical. this kind of stories have taken their toll in my life. and emotional toll. and another reason my picture taken years is because i have to step away sometimes. i mean, these stories stun me. my previous book, mud sling, it's on account of the wild force on this continent, and narrative nonfiction account but i look at the ongoing wars against it by way of roundups and massacres, including the massacre of 34 outside reno at christmastime in 1990. that just about put me away but these call me. i mean, i have and identification with the people. i write about, the animals and the places. we don't have the time for me to get going through that fully here, i've written essays about all that. there are links to those pieces
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on my website. deannestillman.com. i talk about some of this in the introduction the mustang and the afterwards your come and there are various places i go into detail, a lot of it has to do with my own strange upbringing as a child. and escaping that situation via literature of the west end so when. but i have really had the story to take their toll. i mean, i would come back, i would come home from watching mustang roundups and getting to know some of the sources involved, the survivors, i would come home with chest pains really. this is heavy stuff, but i would look for moments of grace, as a talk about, and i appreciate that you mentioned that they are in my book. the things that amazed me our
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like seeing community, a cactus growing out of a rock, sort of unexpected moments of beauty. and you know, well life goes through in order to endure. that's the thread that runs through this book. and i hope all of my work comp in that sort of what sustains me and the people themselves but to me, they are incredibly inspiring. strange and violent and in some cases, i mean some of the kids i write about in "twentynine palms" are amazing. they are the points of life. george h. w. bush was talking about when that particular incident happened after the gulf war. that's what my book "twentynine palms" was about, two girls were killed by a marine after the gulf war. the kids, i explore the world of
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ruthless kids who live in the shadow of the giant military base on the edge of the modern frontier. these kids to take care of each other, when the parents are away at war or in jail for drunk, these kids are, they are american heroes. that's very inspiring to me. and, in this book, too, amazing come in this story, amazing moments of grace. donald kueck was trying to grow a tree industries and he took care of wild animals. they were the close friends. stephen sorenson was more rooted in civilization. he was beloved by many locals. he, too, rescued animals as a talk about. he took care of kids in town who looked up to him. you know, he was a hero to many in the antelope valley, because he showed them a way out.
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a lot of the cops i met themselves could have turned into these guys out in the desert who are felons, you know, violent, but they decided, it's like a lot of the outlaws of the old west. they would come in to town, locals would hide in to clean up the town. it's like we need you, you know. so there is fat and on these incredible moments ago. been as i mentioned, the longing, what i noticed in all of my characters do and what i cannot respond to is i see that they are all longing for some connection. i'm not like that social networking. they don't want that. the human connection that most people are longing for. and that's what's driving, that's what drives all of these stories. you know, i mean come even the
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people who got in the wilderness and lack wildlife. something is amiss better obviously. and there's some family when. they are getting approval somewhere. people are telling them, that's how they're accepting, someone is telling them they're doing a good thing. broken circuit. so that's kind of what i'm looking at. and then also there's the american creed or. it's a free country, i can do what i want. what happens when that -- i agree. that's great, we're a country that is jacked on freedom. but what happens when that idea and belief syncs up with a personal pathology, and this notion, you can't shut it down. for people out in the desert baking and marinating and living
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alone and hearing messages and reading things, getting a lot of information that tells them whatever they are thinking is okay. there's no check and balance, especially as people have completely cut himself off from the own family. and that leads to a lot of this stuff. but again, i've had to step away from a story sometimes for months at a time to there's things that have happened that happen and always call me back in. i mean, really like powerful events, i believe it's a calling, i'll leave it at that because i've written about it elsewhere. i just respond to get quiet in the desert and i hear things, and then i respond.
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believe me, people, all the time with certain stories, just because there in the desert and they think oh, no, this involves really terrible people and deeann -- i need to find a weekend. i had to connect, i identify with her but i write about. if that's not there i turn it down. my editors at rolling stone asked me, they wanted me to cover the michael jackson child molestation case. i didn't want to be -- i mean, i felt that the whole theme was filled with liars. there's like no way in, period. the whole thing was totally evil. everybody, everything. so i mean, i don't, i'm pretty selective about these things, and i don't look for them. i don't know if that sort of a
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detour to your question, but i appreciate your asking. it's a rough calling. thank god for manhattan and former. what a great music you can have in desert bars. that's the only place you can hear it anymore. the desert is stuck in the '80s. yes? >> i wondered what you might be working on? >> yet, i kind of, i'm kind of superstitious about work in the stable stage but i will say i'm going back to the frontier era, exploring some of the same territory i did. things are asking to get a question over here. you have to go over to the mic. sorry.
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>> that's fine. i got all night. basically, on the final standoff between donald kueck and the sheriff's department, during the manhunt did donald kueck have a cache of weapons and liquidity just have just have the one automatic weapon that he used to shoot the sheriff's deputy with? second of all, do you pair the final standoff, like ruby ridge, or waco, texas, with all the cops against one person? >> it has those elements but it's beyond the. it's not really an accurate comparison because it wasn't like kueck was a standoff over religious police or even political beliefs, or he wasn't like wanted by the irs. wasn't lobbying for a sovereign nation or anything like that.
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he didn't have a cache of weapons at him but he had the assault rifle he had that within this trailer but, that he killed deputy sosa with him when he was on the run he had had with them all weaker i think he also had, during the week he had deputy sorenson's revolver. at some point, i care member if it was found in the rubble as well but he didn't have a cache of weapons. he really was one guy going out kind of like tony montana in a way. >> one last question. when he was digging his own grave, when he saw the devil and the devil, where should i dig it, and the devil said between a rock and our joke and laugh at his own show, did he know at the time, he knew what he was going to be because of the impending
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den and the impending music going through his head? at a time getting know what's actually going to happen? >> well, he did tell various family members and friends, he told me about his own grave and sent them a map of where it was. so it was pretty clear, by then his eye downward cycle, his son had died of a drug overdose. he had done time in the california prison system for a felony. he had been melting down out there in the desert since coming out of jail, but in particular the death of his son really take him over the edge. so some of his relatives suspected, then, once he told them he dug his own grave, they figured it was sooner or later he was ready to check out. and friends of his son, jello,
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had realized that when his son died it was only a matter of time also. they were not surprised about what happened, although of course the incident was shocking in its brutality but it didn't surprise anyone really. anyone else? >> if you don't mind a shallow question. >> please. i welcome a shallow question. >> one thing about the book that made it so aligned and real with it, the specific details to like your 479,000 details in the book. how do you keep track? just talk about the process a little bit, all those details, which i assume are all true. and they are all there. >> thanks for asking. well, i keep extensive files, for one thing, i mean, i do you
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know, love the desert. i have been wandering in it for many moons now, and i know a bit about it. but i serve don't have 470,000 packs of my favorite tickets and make you keep extensive files. or incense in this book i have a file on the floor and fauna and the even now down to this particular area. you know, there are various books that i'm sure you know and other writers know any audience you can find, you can go into certain archives and find certain information from native american records through now about all these different places, all kinds of different accounts and oral histories. i keep files about each character. i keep pretty extensive files
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about various aspects of every story i'm working on, and files within files. if that makes sense. does that add to your question? that's pretty much our do it. in terms of talking with people, i don't, i generally don't take notes. sometimes when i'm finished up i go home and write down the conversation, and i have a great ear for dialogue. if crimes are involved i will take note and compare what they say to police reports in salon, and you need that. you have to use that for legal writing with a publisher and so when. but i don't, i find that now taking on talking with people really gets in the way. and i just don't do it. duno, for the most part it seems to work out. i think i just pay more attention if i'm actually
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listening. so it kind of works like that. plus i like reading about all these places and people. i'm excited, something i read and it's fascinating on its face. and suddenly i realize i can plug it in somewhere. even when i've just been thinking about it, maybe it's something i read, you know, and you know, years ago, thune, a desert newspaper, it sticks in my mind and something will happen. i will hear something, you know, while i'm in the middle of this story or another one and i know that i can use a piece of information or story. that happen a lot here. anyone else? okay, thanks very much for
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coming, everybody. i really appreciate it. [applause] >> for more information if this is the website,paul deannestillman.com. >> "hemingway's boat." wh mr. hendrickson, what was the pillar? >> it was a 38-foot seagoingt fishing cruiser that hemingway bought in 1934, and own for thes last 27 years of his life but ie was probably, peter, the most below much or possession that he ever owned. thout so i thought maybe i could tell that hemingway story in a new a way figure story telling devis. >> could you do it? >> well, i went to cuba in 2005,
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to havana, and when the guards were not looking, i certain tishesly touched the boat, a moving experience. the boat was dry dock, on a hillside at hemingway's home, and it was in terrible condition. it looked as if it were dying of thirst and only wanted to get into water, but that further convinced me i had a story to tell through the prism of this boat because when hemingway got the boat, he was the reigning monarch of american literature. he was at the very apex, and when he lost the boat, when he lost everything, when he killed himself by shotgun 27 years later, this boat lasted him through three wives, the nobel prize, and all his ruin, which is why it's sub titled everything he loved in life and
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lost. >> when it was built? >> it was built in a shipyard in brooklyn by the wheeler manufacturing company which in the 1930s was a very, very rep reputable fishing boat, cruiser boat, wooden hold construction boat company, and typical hemingway studied it out and looked for a long time before getting the boat, the exact boat he wanted, and he had it custom fitted, a stock boat, and it was fitted out to specifications, but went into the gulf stream off key west and began catching these 850 pound marlin, and that became his refuge from the world. >> how much did it cost? >> in 1934 cost -- [inaudible]
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had a down payment given by the editor of a new magazine in america called "esquire" and the editor gave him $3,000 to the new dream boat if you write articles for me. >> paul, you spent time on hemmingway's family, why? >> you know, i wanted to understand all the people, not just hemingway himself who came across the boat. one of the most power. story is the story of his third son, gregly ri, who was a doctor, but ended his life as a tran december diet and a transgender, and, yes, it is a kind of multibigraphical approach which seems to be what i know how to do.
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>> gregory was gigi? >> papa's nickname was gigi, and he actually became gloria. at the end of his life, he had had a complete sex change and died tragically in 2001 in a woman's jail cell in miami, and i knew him because of a washington post reporter. in 1987, i tracked down all three hemingway sons and spent time with the eldest, with the middle son, who was alive, and with gigi the third son who died in 2001. >> one is still alive? >> yeah, patrick. he's 84. he lives in montana. he is the surviving hemingway son who had a lot to do with the life of his father's boat. >> all three sons spent time on the boat? >> absolutely. as i said, he was married four
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times, three wives spent time on that boat, but, you know, through a combination of our research and letters own going to the various repositories of hemingway material, i was able to find out this boat just became such a central idea to his existence. you go out there, peter, and your dmons follow you, all your problems on shore, they, as we know, they come with us. we know about the alcohol in earnest hemingway's life, and how extensive was it, paul, and what about depression? was that a factor in the life as well? >> what? >> depression. >> oh, there's no question that hemingway suffered from what we recognize today as manic
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depression, bipolarrism. there was alcoholism. i think if he was alive today he might be medicated to prevent some of these things and possibly his suicide which raises a very thorny question. would he have written as brilliantly as he did if he was not suffering so much? that's a hard, hard question that too many artists have to face up to. >> paul, long time reporter for the washington post, what other topics have you written about as an author of books? >> i wrote about robert mack that mar, a name in this city, architect of vietnam, that book published in 1996 called "the living and the dead," and i wrote a book called "sons of mississippi," the book previous to this, a study of the civil rights south and integration of
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james meredith at the university of ol miss. i like to pick out subjects that i feel have a lot of resonance to the culture history biography. >> and paul's most recent book national book critic circle award finalist. thank you for joining us o >> visit booktv.org to watch any of the programs you see your online. type the author or book title in the search bar on the upper left side of the page and click search. you can share anything you see an booktv.org easily by clicking share on the upper left side of the page and selecting the format. booktv streams live online for 48 hours every weekend with the top nonfiction books and authors. booktv.org. >> booktv is on facebook.